Running & training in Delhi’s dangerous smog

Today, just a few days away from the flagship Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, we all woke up to this.

Filthy, dirty, toxic air.

Navi shared this scary reading on our Whatsapp group, as we all cyber-greeted each other in the early hours of the morning.

I have to admit, getting up in the dark, knowing how polluted it was out there, did give me pause for thought.

The temptation to say “No, I’ll run later in the day when the air is less disgusting” was strong, but I knew it wouldn’t happen.

Just as well, really, since I checked the reading just now for the area of south Delhi where I live.

This is beyond ridiculous.

So, paradoxically, I trained in “better” air at 6 am than mid-day.

Crazy.

Anyway, before this turns into a rant on our air quality & the seeming lack of any form of political concern whatsoever, let me get back to our foggy training.

So, yes, we all met in foggy, smoggy weather, that didn’t lift one iota during our intervals training.

We stretched and started our warm-up laps in the dark.

Like so.

Chilly enough to need jackets, initially:

BUT…once I was there, running with my mates, I was so glad that I did go.

Literally, hanging out with my tribe was the only thing to lift the pall of physical foul-tasting gloom.

We drilled, we ran intervals (though mine were completely pathetic), we encouraged one another, we calmed down those of us suffering from injuries and aches, and all of this blanketed in thick fog.

There was one section of the track when we were running our interval laps, as we rounded it to run past Coach Vijay, where the visibility was down to probably less than 10 metres.  You’re running along in greyness and suddenly figures emerged from the gloom.

Would’ve been funny, if it weren’t so toxic.

But you see, if we hadn’t all braved the weather and pollution to meet up, we wouldn’t have had a brilliant slo-mo filming session, courtesy of Vaibhav and Mohinder.

Just look at Sonali running in the fog:

And here we all are, drilling away.

I have to say, I think slo-mo is THE best for running 🙂

So yes, here we are, just a few days to go, and everyone fretting about the weather, and some people with aches and pains, some more serious than others.

But still we smile away:

By the way, I used my Vogmask for a very short while this morning.  Might need to persist, if this filthy, mucky air doesn’t clear up, but the weather forecast isn’t encouraging.

But the truth of the matter is, I’ll almost certainly NOT wear the mask on race day, since the combo of glasses + mask straps + headphones is a recipe for disaster…

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